Nationalism, Communism, and Fascism in the Modern Middle East

with Peter Wien

hosted by Graham Cornwell and Alissa Walter

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Famous images such as Amin al-Husayni's meeting with Hitler have come to dominate the public imagination of Arab-Nazi relations in Western societies. But to what extent does this imagery reflect actual trajectories of reception and reflection of fascist ideology in the Middle East or the experience that Arabs and Muslims of other origins had under Nazi rule? In this episode, we discuss the ideological options of interwar nationalists from the Arab world with Peter Wien, author of Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian, and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932-1941 and Arab Nationalism: The Politics of History and Culture in the Modern Middle East (forthcoming). We examine the possible models adopted by political movements of the Arab world in their nation-state projects and struggles with British and French colonialism, and we explore the fates and resonance of ideologies such as fascism and communism in the Arab world. In doing so, we unearth the experiences of Arab nationalists in Nazi Germany, and we consider the relationship between European anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism in the modern Middle East. 

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Peter Wien is Associate Professor for Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Maryland in College Park. He is the author of Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932-1941 (2006) and Arab Nationalism: The Politics of History and Culture in the Modern Middle East (2017).
Graham H. Cornwell is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Georgetown University. His work examines the history of tea and sugar consumption in Northwest Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is also the editor of tajine, a podcast and blog about North African Studies.
Alissa Walter is a Ph.D. candidate in Georgetown University's History Department. The title of her dissertation is "The Ba‘th Party in Baghdad: State-Society Relations through Wars, Sanctions, and Authoritarianism."


Episode No. 285
Release Date: 2 December 2016
Recording Location: Washington, DC
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: from - Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and MuzafferKatibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye AylaTurnalar Turnalar - Darulelhan Heyeti
Special thanks to Monsieur Doumani for allowing us to use "The System/Το σύστημαν"
Images and bibliography courtesy of Peter Wien


Iraqi youth parade in the honor of King Ghazi. Source: Al-Dalil al-Iraqi al-rasmi (Baghdad, 1936), pg. 402
Amin al-Husayni meeting with Adolf Hitler, 1941. Image Source: Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler by Heinrich Hoffmann, Das Bundesarchiv / wikimedia
Celebration of Iraq becoming member of the League of Nations, Oct. 6, 1932. Baghdad. Source: Library of Congress
Celebration of Iraq becoming member of the League of Nations, Oct. 6, 1932. Baghdad. Source: Library of Congress

Achcar, Gilbert. The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010).

Bashkin, Orit: The Other Iraq: Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).

Batatu, Hanna: The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of Its Communists, Ba’thists, and Free Officers (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978).

Gershoni, Israel, and James P. Jankowski: Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship Versus Democracy in the 1930s (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

Gershoni, Israel, ed.: Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism: Attraction and Repulsion (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014).

Motadel, David: Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014).

Nordbruch, Götz: Nazism in Syria and Lebanon: The Ambivalence of the German Option, 1933-1945 (London, New York: Routledge, 2008).

Wien, Peter: Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932-1941 (London, New York: Routledge, 2006).

Wien, Peter: The Politics of History and Culture in the Modern Middle East (London, New York: Routledge, 2017).


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